The government should increase funding for child contact centres, according to a new campaign.
Child contact centres are facilities where separated families can meet. They are seen as a neutral area for children who only live with one parent to spend time with their non-resident parent. They are run by various independent organisations and are supported by family lawyers, the judiciary and Cafcass.
The National Association for Child Contact Centres (NACCC) is a membership group for those who help run such centres. It supports around 350 of them in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands. They estimate that around 17,000 children use their facilities each year.
The call for funding was included in a campaign by The Family Court Unions Parliamentary Group to promote child contact centres. NACCC claims that without government help it could close down as early as February 2016. Earlier this year, they reported that more than 40 centres have closed down in the previous year and a half.
The Parliamentary Group called for no further cuts to be made to the legal aid budget and for an independent review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. This legislation effectively eliminated legal assistance in family cases and severely reduced it in other areas of the law.
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